Theatre Horizon to Stage Suzan-Lori Parks' IN THE BLOOD, 4/16-5/9
Theatre Horizon closes its 2014-2015 season and follows up it smash hit Into the Woods with Suzan-Lori Parks' In The Blood. This urban re-telling of The Scarlet Letter runs April 16-May 9, 2015. Opening Night is Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$38 and are available online at www.theatrehorizon.org.
In The Blood brings audiences into the world of Hester a homeless mother of five striving to escape the hand of fate. As Hester looks to find ways to free her children from poverty, her journey begs to ask if tragedy is woven into her destiny. This Pulitzer Prize nominee is directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh who recently directed The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane at InterAct Theatre Company.
All but three members of the cast are making his or her Theatre Horizon debut. Ashley Everage, an NYC based actor is portraying Hester. She previously played one of the Welfare Ladies/Bullies in another production of the show. Forrest McClendon, a TONY nominee and Barrymore winner is cast as Reverend D. Forrest appeared in a reading of the play last year at Theatre Horizon playing the same role. He also appeared in a workshop of the play years ago. Akeem Davis, who appeared in a reading of The Brothers Size at the theatre, appears as Chilli/Jabber. Sam Sherburne appears as the Doctor/Trouble. Christina May plays Amiga/Beauty and Cathy Simpson, who appeared in Pretty Fire at Theatre Horizon, play the Welfare Lady/Bully.
Brian Dudkiewicz is creating the cityscape environment as the Set Designer. Cecilia Durbin is the Lighting Designer. Janus Stefanowicz is Costume Designer, Larry Fowler is the Sound Designer, and Amanda Hatch is the Properties Designer.
David & Linda Glickstein are the Honorary Producers. In conjunction with this production, Theatre Horizon is kicking off Imagine No Homelessness. This innovative new program takes the play beyond the walls of the theater directly to those who can relate to it, and helps them in turn share their stories with the play's audiences.
Actors from the production will go to a few of the homeless shelters in Norristown to perform scenes from the play for a joint audience of shelter residents and college students. Everyone will get to know each other by discussing the play, then use it as a jumping off point to share their own stories around housing and home.
Students and shelter residents will work together to create artwork around those stories that will be featured in the theater lobby during the run of the show.
Audiences will come together with actors and community partners to imagine changing the story of homelessness in Montgomery County during discussions after each performance of the play. Theatre Horizon received a grant to study Cornerstone Theatre of Los Angeles' practices. Cornerstone succeeds in putting community members alongside professionals onstage to tell stories that give voice to the marginalized or the silenced. Theatre Horizon will fold many of Cornerstone's practices into its Imagine No Homelessness work, holding 4 workshops in the Cornerstone style in local homeless shelters.
Located in a very economically and ethnically diverse town, Theatre Horizon strives to unite disparate populations through our theatre work, applying the skills of actors and artists to pressing social problems in our community.
Said Theatre Horizon Artistic Director Erin Reilly, "One of our goals as a theatre company is to direct the skills of our artists towards solving the community's most pressing challenges. It was the right moment to bring In the Blood to Theatre Horizon's stage because Commissioner Shapiro recently launched a robust effort to end homelessness in Montgomery County, through "Your Way Home," a county program. We felt Theatre Horizon could shine a bright spotlight on the issue, and humanize the statistics behind poverty and housing insecurity in the county."
She added, "Almost a year ago, I had a conversation with Sister Mary Scullion of Project H.O.M.E., an internationally recognized expert on homelessness, and she advised me to tell the stories of the homeless, and in so doing, you will model kindness and nurture empathy in our community. So that's what we are doing, by sending our actors into homeless shelters, presenting the play, and then holding community dialogues every night after every performance. I hope audience members come away with a renewed commitment to extend kindness and empathy to loved ones and strangers alike."